What a difference a year makes.
Last year, the RV industry was reeling with its lowest sales since 1991 and some companies were being forced out of business, according to the South Bend (Ind.) Tribune.
But this year business is looking up, what with shipments projected to increase by 39% in 2010.
With a better mood for a party, the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) will celebrate 100 years of RVs this summer.
The biggest of the events will take place today (June 7) at the RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum in Elkhart. Everyone from workers to factory owners will be feted along with the product at a 100th anniversary party, which will include video tributes, a band, food, fun and fireworks.
The festivities will be part of June’s monthlong RV Centennial Celebration.
But the entire week will feature various committee meetings and events as more than 200 RVIA members come to South Bend for committee meetings plus the group’s annual meeting — all at the Century Center.
The annual meeting is typically held in more exotic locations, but it’s coming to Michiana this year for several reasons, including the fact that Michiana is where much of the industry is located.
“Because of the centennial, we felt it was important and proper to celebrate the event at the museum in Elkhart and have the weeklong event in South Bend,” said Gary LaBella, RVIA vice president and chief marketing officer. “Because of the economic situation, we are trying to make it easier on our members.”
And central to a two-hour festival at the museum on Monday, will be a “Salute to RV Workers,” with some on hand at the invitation-only event.
“This is an industry full of entrepreneurs and self-made guys and interesting people who built the industry up in their own garages,” LaBella said. “It’s important, and they all recognize it. Our RVIA and our manufacturers and supplier members certainly recognize that the industry will only go as far as the work force and the integrity of the work force takes it.
“I don’t know how it compares to other industries. But we feel that the craftsmanship and the quality of work that comes out of our RV factories, and obviously the Elkhart and South Bend area factories are a big part of (the reason). The work is extremely well-perceived nationally.”
Included in the video salute to workers will be interviews with some of the workers as well as owners talking about how much the work force means to them.
The party in Elkhart is expected to have 500 people in attendance.
Another part of the yearlong celebration, that actually started back in December with the 47th National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky., was RV historian David Woodworth’s tour this spring to showcase the old and the new of the RV industry.
Besides celebrating the 100th anniversary, the RVIA also hopes the public recognizes that the RV industry has bounced back from bad times before.
“Given the year that the industry just went through, it’s just a fantastic time to have something that everybody can rally around and feel good about,” LaBella said.
“It reminds everyone that we have a long storied history that is full of ups and downs.
“We have been through wars and times of peace, and fuel lines and all kinds of fads and the cyber revolution, and yet the industry is still going strong.
“We feel bad about last year, but it’s nice to be reminded that there is no doubt we will be back strong.”
LaBella made the comments in an interview well ahead of the recent news that April’s wholesale shipments being up 85% over a year ago and 2.5% over March of this year.
“The recovery is robust the first third of the year,” RVIA spokesman Kevin Broom said.
History is indeed on the industry’s side.
“An industry cannot be around 100 years unless it can absorb a few bumps in the road along the way,” LaBella said. “We have had many bumps in the road and always come back stronger than ever.”
Representatives of the RV industry from across North America will converge on Elkhart, Ind., tonight for the official celebration of the RV centennial.
All 1,000 tickets for the once-in-a-century event were sold weeks ago, sponsor Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) reported.
The celebration comes during RVIA’s annual Committee Week, which begins today.
Several Indiana state and natural political figures have been invited to the centennial event which begins at 6:30 p.m. at the RV/MH Heritage Museum on the city’s northeast side. The event is on, rain or shine. In case of inclement weather, all outdoor events will be moved inside.
The RV Centennial Celebration will include a barbecue and outdoor reception featuring casual fare and a variety of entertaining booths, a Centennial Campfire surrounded by antique RVs and more. The outdoor reception will be followed by a special program honoring the industry’s past. The fast-paced, one–hour program held inside the RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum will include entertaining videos and presentations saluting the industry’s history and a cake-cutting ceremony. A rousing fireworks display will wrap up the evening.
RVIA previously announced important parking guidelines for those attending the event. Limited parking will be available on-site at the RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum in Elkhart and at the neighboring RSM McGladrey accounting firm. In order for event attendees to park on-site, they must be participating in a carpool with at least three people per car.
For those unable to carpool, RVIA is offering shuttle buses that will take guests to and from the Century Center Marriott in South Bend and RV/MH Hall of Fame. RVIA will also offer nearby satellite parking with shuttle-bus service to the event. Companies that have large groups of attendees coming to the Centennial Celebration are urged to run their own buses to allow as many of their attendees as possible to travel together as a group in one vehicle.
The party comes at the start of RVIA’s Committee Week, traditionally held in Washington, D.C. All Committee Week activities will be held at the Century Center in downtown South Bend, located 15 miles west of Elkhart.
Because Committee Week is being held in northern Indiana, the hub of the RV industry, the RVIA expects attendance at this week’s meetings to be higher than normal, RVIA Vice President Mac Bryan said.
Committee Week meetings began at 8 a.m. today and conclude with the RVIA board of directors meeting scheduled for all day on Thursday.
Tuesday (June 1) marked the start of a month-long celebration of the value of time in the Great Outdoors.
According to a mailing from the American Recreation Coalition (ARC), which is allied with the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), numerous activities are planned for this month to boost the public’s awareness and appreciation of the outdoors.
President Obama and nearly every governor have already declared the month Great Outdoors Month.
“The proclamations are substantive and highlight the themes we have been pursuing actively for more than a decade,” said Derrick Crandall, ARC president. “They point out that recreation is a key route to a healthier America, and is especially important as a tool to fight childhood obesity and the costs in quality of life and dollars. The proclamations talk about recreation and the economy, and about our Great Outdoors as means to learn about our heritage and about the importance of conservation.”
And the proclamations are just the start. Here is what the month of June will include:
- The First Lady was in Nevada Tuesday and unveiled Let’s Move Outdoors, a new website and a new part of her campaign to fight childhood obesity.
- Also Tuesday, the first of the town hall meetings under the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative was held in Helena, Mont. Announced at a White House conference on April 16, America’s Great Outdoors offers an opportunity to shape a presidential strategy on conservation and recreation by late this year.
- On Friday, June 4, ED OUT will bring nearly 1,000 people to Camp William Snyder in Hayfield, Va., for a day of outdoor learning and fun. This pilot effort, team-led by Prince William County Schools, ARC, the Forest Service and Take Me Fishing, will involve 4th and 7th graders and adjunct faculty drawn from NASA, the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Wildlife Federation and more and will launch a national campaign to get public schools to use nearby parks and public places to improve education during the school year and during summer vacations.
- On Saturday, June 5, National Trails Day will attract hundreds of thousands to volunteer projects along trails on public lands – making these trails more fun for millions.
- Also on Saturday is the start of National Fishing and Boating Week, with events across the nation including free fishing opportunities.
- And Saturday is also one of Interior Secretary Kenneth Salazar’s fee-free weekends in national parks and other federal recreation sites!
- On Monday, June 7, nearly a thousand youth will fish on the National Mall in Washington at a popular event coordinated by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – just a block away from Interior’s headquarters and three blocks from the White House.
- Also on Monday, June 7, is the kickoff event for Great Outdoors Week, held this year at the National Wildlife Visitor Center at Patuxent Research Refuge. The center is the largest science and environmental education center of the Department of the Interior. And while at Patuxent, we’ll award the 2010 Beacon Awards, for use of technology to enhance recreational enjoyment of public lands and to manage recreation use.
- On Tuesday, June 8, all kinds of things will be happening in Washington. The Coalition for Recreational Trails will present the 2010 Recreational Trails Program Awards and release a new database of some 20,000 trail projects aided by this program since its inception in 1991. The National Park Foundation and Unilever will present the Harry Yount Ranger of the Year Award. And leading physicians who believe that “park prescriptions” are a great tool get make America healthier will begin a series of meetings with Administration and Congressional leaders.
- Great Outdoors Week events continue later in the week with the 2010 Great Outdoors Week Recreation Exchange featuring Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, presentation of the 2010 Legends Awards, the Great Mall Walk for Health, the Great Outdoors Week Ice Cream Social on the USDA patio with “celebrity scoopers,” and more.
- Saturday, June 12, at some 80 sites across the nation, National Get Outdoors Day will be celebrated – a team effort to reach out to America’s kids and get them excited about adventures in the outdoors. In Denver, and Salt Lake and Washington and more, thousands of kids will ride bikes and paddle canoes and climb artificial walls and go geocaching and birdwatching – in our cities! And they will be invited out to more traditional recreation sites at EChO events later in the summer.
- A big part of National Get Outdoors Day is National Marina Day. At marinas across the country — and especially at a dozen signature sites — marinas will invite families to try out time on boats and enjoy life on the edge of our rivers, lakes and oceans.
- The RVIA and RV community will be celebrating the centennial of recreation vehicles during the month, and especially in events in Indiana during the week of June 7-11.
- Action continues on June 19-20 at the Outdoor Nation Youth Summit in Central Park, New York City, as some 500 delegates gather to champion the outdoors and start a youth-driven outdoors movement.
- And lots more will be happening before the month of June winds down, including the National Wildlife Foundation-led Great American Backyard Campout on backyards and community sites nationwide on June 26.
The idea for Great Outdoors Month is just 20 years old — the result of discussions immediately following the 2nd Sheldon Coleman Great Outdoors Award presentation to then-President George H. W. Bush in 1990.
Watch today’s Featured Video from WDAZ-TV, Ch. 5, in Grand Forks, N.D. Host Terry Dullum is the producer and anchor of WDAZ News @5 on WDAZ-TV in Grand Forks. His video essays, The Dullum File, are seen Fridays on WDAZ News @6. He is also a popular speaker and emcee. He hosts the Greater Grand Forks Symphony Orchestra’s annual Holiday Pops Concert at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks.
A feature not usually associated with RVs will greet visitors to Elkhart County as the RV industry celebrates its centennial early next month and converges on the northern Indiana community.
The 2010 Quilt Gardens along the Heritage Trail begins Memorial Day and continues through September. A product of the Elkhart County Convention & Visitors Bureau (ECCVB), the signature event features 17 official large-scale quilt patterned gardens and 17 hand-painted quilt murals presented in the communities of Elkhart, Bristol, Middlebury, Shipshewana, Goshen, Nappanee and Wakarusa, all communities where RVs are manufactured.
All sites are viewable free of charge, according to a news release.
“The Quilt Gardens… along the Heritage Trail” was recently recognized as a creative, emerging cultural tourism initiative; and the ECCVB received the 2010 Efroymson Award for Excellence in Cultural Tourism Development for the project. The event has also been recognized by the group market and designated a Top 100 Event by the American Bus Association in 2009 and 2010.
The Quilt Gardens project garners interest from a wide range of audiences and drives increased visitation and visitor spending in Elkhart County. Over 50% of garden/mural visitation also involves visitations to other attractions in the destination, with visitor spending averaging $300 to $500 per travel party.
Visit www.QuiltGardensTour.com for additional information on the Quilt Gardens.
As the sold-out June 7 RV Centennial Celebration is a once-in-a-century event, RVIA encourages all attendees to take home souvenirs to commemorate the industry’s 100th birthday.
During the reception and barbecue, groups and individuals will have the opportunity to take a commemorative photo that will have the beautiful RV/MH Hall of Fame in the background, and will be emblazoned with an RV Centennial banner and the date of the celebration. Guests will be able to download photos for printing after the event, and RVIA encourages everyone to take advantage of this special souvenir, according to the current issue of RVIA Today Express.
There will also be a chance for all willing participants to be the star of their own music video. RVIA has hired Dance Heads Recordings to be on hand at the festival to produce music video DVDs for anyone who chooses to make one. Not a big dancer? Not a problem. Just sing along to the song of your choice – the professionals from Dance Heads Recordings will be superimposed on an animated body. The music video booth is sure to be a hot spot – don’t miss the opportunity to take home this unique souvenir.
At the Elkhart Truth booth guests can pick up a 32-page special section of the paper that will serve as a commemorative item marking the industry’s 100th year. Attendees will also have a program and Centennial button to take home.
Guests should make sure to see the gift the industry has donated to the RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum, the Centennial Time Capsule. Over the past months a wide variety of RVIA members and industry partners have been contributing items that portray a “snapshot of the industry in 2010.”
The Centennial Time Capsule will be on display during the festival and afterward will remain on permanent display in the RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum where it will remain locked for 25 years.
All of these attractions will be open from 6:30 to 8:30 during the Centennial Celebration, closing when the formal program begins.
Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. Rendell has proclaimed the month of June as Recreation Vehicle and Camping Month in Pennsylvania.
The state proclamation coincides with the national RV and Camping Month in an effort to focus on both the benefits of RVing as well as the RV Centennial celebrations.
“The lives of today’s families are increasingly hectic, making the importance of extended and relaxed vacation time as a whole family, away from everyday demands, greater than ever,” the governor stated, and he encouraged “all citizens to pursue their passions and escape with their families on the road across the farthest reaches of our state.”
RVing and camping continue to be strong forces in Pennsylvania’s economy, according to a news release. The RV industry’s largest trade and retail show in the country is held at the GIANT Center in Hershey and hosted by the Pennsylvania RV and Camping Association (PRVCA). In celebration of 100 years of RVing, this year’s show features a special RV History exhibit by Al Hesselbart displaying antique RVs as well as a campsite exhibit.
Visitors are even welcomed into the state with seven state-wide billboards directing them to the Pennsylvania RV and Camping Association (PRVCA) website. Pennsylvania also offers career opportunities and apprenticeships to the many campgrounds and RV dealerships across the state of Pennsylvania.
In conjunction with the governor’s proclamation, the PRVCA is kicking off its annual Open House campaign.
“The goal of the Open House campaign,” says Rebecca Lenington, PRVCA executive vice president, “is to direct consumers to their local campgrounds and dealerships and expose them to the many benefits of RV ownership and the freedom that traveling by RV provides.”
This year over $121,000 is budgeted for the Open House advertising campaign which will utilize more than 1,300 commercials on both television and radio. In addition to commercials, PRVCA has secured many banner ads on various media outlet websites. The commercials will appear state-wide and the ads will begin running June 4-13.
The PRVCA Open House television advertisements are comprised from Go RVing stock footage featuring the “Ambassadors of Affordability singing “Back in the Saddle Again” and radio ads featuring the “Traveling in my RV” jingle. All advertisements promote June as Pennsylvania RV and Camping month, visiting an RV dealer or campground to explore the possibilities of RVing and the freedom of travel in an RV.
The tag line follows the National Go RVing campaign, “What will you discover? Go RVing.” Consumers can also request the PRVCA membership directory, Explore Pennsylvania, which lists all members, and is loaded with travel destinations and attractions, and fun RVing facts.
The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) announced today (May 20) that tickets to the RV Centennial Celebration in Elkhart, Ind., have sold out.
All 1,000 tickets were sold prior to the association’s May 21 deadline for ticket sales.
RVIA will honor all requests for tickets that it received through May 14. Ticket holders who find that they do not need the tickets they requested, are asked to contact Doreen Cashion at RVIA at (800) 336-0154 so that extra tickets may be freed up for other industry members.
Industry members who make requests for tickets from this point forward will be placed on a wait-list and honored on a first-come, first-served basis as cancellations come in. Those on the wait-list for tickets will be notified as soon as RVIA is able to offer tickets to them. Wait-list companies will be notified no later than June 4 if RVIA is unable to accommodate their request for tickets
Parking at the RV Centennial Celebration
RVIA also announced important parking guidelines for those attending the event. Limited parking will be available on-site at the RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum in Elkhart – and at the neighboring RSM McGladrey accounting firm. In order for event attendees to park on-site, they must be participating in a carpool with at least three people in each car. Cars with fewer than three people will not be allowed to park onsite.
For those unable to carpool, RVIA is offering shuttle buses that will take guests to and from the Century Center Marriott in South Bend and RV/MH Hall of Fame. RVIA will also offer nearby satellite parking with shuttle-bus service to the event. Details of satellite parking will be announced soon.
Companies that have large groups of attendees coming to the Centennial Celebration are urged to run their own busses to allow as many of their attendees as possible to travel together as a group in one vehicle.
The RV Centennial Celebration, set for June 7 at the RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum in Elkhart, Ind., will include a barbecue and outdoor reception featuring casual fare and a variety of entertaining booths, a Centennial Campfire surrounded by antique RVs, and more. The outdoor reception will be followed by a special program honoring the industry’s past. The fast-paced, one–hour program held inside the RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum will include entertaining videos and presentations saluting the industry’s history, and a cake-cutting ceremony. A rousing fireworks display will wrap up the evening.
With questions, contact Cashion at (800) 336-0154 ext. 324 or email@example.com.
RVIA PR Committee Chairman B.J. Thompson and RVIA Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer Gary LaBella will present a 10-minute video, “A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to Our Centennial” during the RV Centennial Celebration, set for June 7 at the RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum in Elkhart.
Part of a fast-paced, entertaining one-hour program, “A Funny Thing Happened” features some of the funniest RV moments from motion pictures and television shows dating back to the 1953 comedy masterpiece “The Long, Long Trailer” featuring Lucy Ball and Desi Arnaz.
The hilarious highlight reel features clips taken from hours of video that LaBella and Thompson have previously shown to the industry during the course of their 25 years presenting at RVIA annual meetings and Louisville Outlook breakfasts.
LaBella said, “As it turns out, the road to our centennial was too funny to pack into just one 10-minute video.” So Thompson and LaBella will screen an encore video – featuring even more terrific RV media clips – at RVIA’s Annual Membership Meeting June 9 at the Century Center in South Bend.
Tickets are required for entry to the RV Centennial celebration, and are available to RV industry representatives, the media and invited guests. The event is not open to consumers. Tickets to the event must be purchased in advance, as walk-ups cannot be accommodated at the event, and are available for anyone connected to the industry, including spouses, colleagues and co-workers, over the age of 18.
For a ticket request form, email Huyen Dang at HDang@rvia.org or visit www.RVCentennial.org and click on “Events.”
To honor 100 years of enjoyment of recreation vehicles in the U.S., the U.S. Senate adopted a resolution on May 14, officially declaring June 2010 to be “RV Centennial Celebration Month.”
There was unanimous support for the resolution and the homegrown RV industry that has developed to support camping, exploring, and recreation and has provided good paying jobs for thousands of families, according to a news release from the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA).
The resolution was introduced by Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., and also garnered bipartisan cosponsors from key RV producing states.
The resolution declares, in part, that the “Senate supports and recognizes the goals and ideals of ‘RV Centennial Celebration Month’ to commemorate 100 years of enjoyment of recreation vehicles in the United States; and encourages the people of the United States to celebrate this anniversary by taking part in recreation vehicle vacations.”
Central to the industry’s celebrations in June will be the RV Centennial Celebration on June 7, at the RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum in Elkhart, Ind. The event will be a fun-filled family-oriented festival including entertainment, a campfire with a display of antique RVs, fireworks, and traditional camping food and drink. A very important theme of the RV Centennial Celebration will be a “Salute to RV Workers” to honor the industry’s hard-working men and women who build the product and who are the heart and soul of our industry.
RVIA Vice President of Government Affairs Dianne Farrell said, “We are so pleased that the Senate has now officially proclaimed June as RV Centennial Celebration Month, honoring the RV industry on the occasion of its 100th Anniversary. Our industry owes Senators Bayh and Lugar our thanks for leading this effort to recognize our industry.”
The Senate action follows on the heels of five state resolutions that have been adopted over the past few months. The state legislatures of Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana and Oklahoma have all marked the occasion of the RV industry’s Centennial with official resolutions, and several governors are expected to issue similar proclamations.
In Florida, the Florida RV Trade Association (FRVTA) worked closely with state Sen. Mike Haridopolos to get its resolution passed. In Indiana, the Recreation Vehicle Indiana Council (RVIC) worked with the Indiana state legislature to have that state’s resolution adopted, and Winnebago Industries worked closely with the Iowa legislature for its adoption of a resolution “in support of the ideals and goals” of the RV Centennial. Maurice LeBlanc of Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park in Robert, Louisiana, worked with Louisiana State Representative Steve Pugh to get the resolution passed there.
Farrell continued, “The United States economy is driven largely by consumer spending and by small and medium sized businesses. These are the very people who comprise the RV industry and we extend our thanks to the states that passed resolutions in honor of our 100th Anniversary.”
In the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., introduced H. Res. 1073 earlier this year with Rep. Mark Souder, R-Ind., as an original cosponsor and 20 other Congressmen signed on.
As America’s RV industry revs up for a year’s worth of celebrations in recognition of its 2010 centennial, the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) is sending the Official Ambassador of the 2010 RV Centennial – a 34-inch American black bear stuffed animal named Centennial Charlie – on a road trip to honor the people who love RVing and the workers who are the heart and soul of the RV industry.
FTCA Inc. – the manufacturer of Coleman camping trailers – will host the 2010 RV Centennial mascot during the week of May 17 in Somerset, Pa., before sending him to his next stop on the 100-day tour. Centennial Charlie, who is inspired by the bear in Go RVin’g 2010 Ambassadors of Affordability ad campaign, will bring the industry’s celebrations to RV enthusiasts and RV employees in a fun, unconventional way.
“Since a central theme of the Centennial Celebration is a ‘Salute to RV Workers,’ we wanted to be sure to reach out to those workers with our Centennial Ambassador,” said RVIA President Richard Coon. “We in the RV industry know that the hard-working men and women on the factory floors, in the offices, and out in the field are the heart and soul of our industry.”
On the occasion of its centennial anniversary, the RV industry will thank and honor its workers, whose commitment to creating quality RV products has helped bring American families closer together for a century.
The Recreation Vehicle Industry Assocation (RVIA) has endorsed Evada Cooper’s upcoming RV Centeniall Cookbook: Celebrating 100 Years of RVing to mark the 100th anniversary of RVing in the United States.
“I’m just very excited,” said Cooper in a news release. “It’s all about family, friends and food.”
The Coopers own and operate the Movile RV Acadamy, an online RV maintenance academy.
A portion of the book sales will be donated to the Texas Recreation Vehicle Association (TRVA) to further RV maintenance education.
The cookbook, to be published by us later this year, will feature recipes that are easy and quick to prepare, especially for the avid RVer.
“We would love to have recipes from every RV association across the country,” said Cooper.
The cookbook also will contain tips on maintaining RVs from Cooper’s husband, Terry, nationally known as the ”Texas RV Professor.” He also is an instructor at Texas State Technical College System (TSTC), which is publishing the cookbook.
The book will offer tidbits of RV history and photos of early RVs featured on a special RVIA centennial website.
“We are happy to offer our endorsement and allow the book to be called the ‘official’ RV Centennial cookbook,” said Bernadette Murphy, RVIA communications director.
The national organization launched its centennial celebration earlier this year with the centennial website that chronicles the history of RVing in America.
TSTC Publishing was established in 2004 and is the publishing arm of the Texas State Technical College System. TSTC Publishing is a leading provider of high-end technical instructional materials and related information to institutions of higher education and private industry. For more information on the RV Centennial Cookbook, please contact LadyEcooper@MobileRVAcademy.com
During a time in the nation’s capital when bitter infighting between Democrats and Republicans is at an all-time high, “Centennial Charlie,” the official mascot of the RV Centennial, has embarked on a good-will tour of Capitol Hill offices and has proven to be that rarest of creatures – one who is beloved by members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, according to a news release.
“Centennial Charlie has spent a whirlwind week meeting with key members of Congress and learning the ‘bear’ essentials of how things get done inside the beltway,” said Dianne Farrell, vice president of government affairs for the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA). “In addition to his largely ceremonial role as ambassador for the RV Centennial, Charlie was quite an effective lobbyist promoting House and Senate resolutions designating June 2010 as RV Centennial Celebration month.”
RVIA legal counsel is checking on Charlie’s possible lobbying registration requirements.
Farrell also noted that Charlie has brought several intangibles to his D.C. tour, saying, “Centennial Charlie is just what Washington, D.C., needs right now. A big, sweet bear to remind them that what’s really important is the quality time we spend with our family and friends. And that there is no better way to spend that time than RVing in America’s Great Outdoors.”
During his time in the nation’s Capital, Centennial Charlie attended a Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., fundraiser on Tuesday (April 20) and had drinks with Minority Leader Boehner, R-Ohio, Wednesday night at the Capitol Hill Club. Charlie spent time with several members on Thursday, including many members of the Indiana House delegation — Democrat Joe Donnelly and Republicans Mark Souder, Dan Burton and Mike Pence.
But anonymous sources are reporting that Charlie has been spotted around town on unscheduled visits as well. One D.C. insider who spoke on the condition of anonymity said, “I’m pretty sure I spotted Charlie exiting the Supreme Court.” This fact, combined with Charlie’s quiet, judicial temperament have fueled speculation that he could be President Obama’s next Supreme Court nominee.
A video account of Centennial Charlie’s Cross-Country Caravan will be screened at the RV Centennial Celebration, taking place June 7 at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Ind. This is an industry-only event open to those 18 years of age and older. Tickets are required. For tickets email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Consider it a celebration of a lifestyle.
Winnebago Industries Inc. of Forest City, Iowa, invited community members to help the company celebrate the 100th anniversary of the recreational vehicle industry this week.
“It’s a lifestyle,” Winnebago CEO Bob Olson told the Forest City Summit. “It’s the freedom to roam the country.”
Winnebago has been part of that lifestyle for 52 years and is a leader in the RV industry.
“Winnebago has been a main employer for a number of years,” Olson said of the company’s presence in the region.
Olson said the company wanted to acknowledge that presence as well as the contributions made by founders John and Luise Hanson when it invited the community to the event, which included tours of some of the company’s facilities.
Olson hoped many local residents attended to learn “what Winnebago is all about.”
Doug and Liz Alms were not at the event but they know a lot about the RV lifestyle.
The Almses have a 2004 Itasca, a brand also made by Winnebago. They ordered the RV to their specifications. The couple has been living in the RV since June of 2006.
“Since we about the motorhome, we’ve traveled over 70,00 miles,” Doug Alms said.
The couple has put on about 50,000 of those miles as full-time motorhome residents, he said.
The Almses were in Texas last week where they worked at a rally.
The biggest transition was moving from vacation mode to lifestyle mode, Liz Alms said.
“We are not playing tourists,” Liz Alms said. “We pay bills, do laundry, get groceries, things anybody would do at their home.”
While they don’t play tourists, they still take in the local activities at campgrounds or RV sites and within the community.
“We take in small town activities, if a fair is going on, a parade…,” Doug Alms said.
The Almses are in their mid-50s and they were able to retire early because of careers. The couple may be at one end of the RV lifestyle, but they said there are others like them traveling the highways and interstates.
Thousands of others use their motorhomes on weekends or vacations.
At the open house visitors had a chance to learn more about how those Winnebagos and Itasca motorhomes they see on the road are built.
“We are proud of our facility. We are proud of our people,” Olson said. “We are leading the industry in technology. We are by far the most technologically advanced facility in the industry bar none.”
Olson said the company will continue to be a leader after 52 years in a 100-year-old industry.
“This is a culture,” Olson said of RV use. “You won’t take that lifestyle away from people.”
RV historian Dave Woodworth rolled into Philadelphia this week and garnered some air time on WTXF-TV’s “Good Day” to mark the 100th anniversary of the RV industry.
Watch today’s featured video on the home page to see that broadcast.